Construction strike: Quebec plans to introduce back to work legislation

QUEBEC – The Quebec government is planning to introduce back-to-work legislation to bring an end to the province’s construction strike.

Labour Minister Agnes Maltais says the Parti Quebecois government will reconvene the provincial legislature from its summer break for a special meeting on Sunday.

Maltais says construction unions and companies still have time to reach a deal before the legislation is introduced.

“There are still several hours before we table the special law,” Maltais told reporters Saturday in Quebec City, adding that a negotiated settlement is always preferable to legislating an end to the conflict.

Maltais said the legislation — which must pass through a minority parliament — would mean the construction workers would be forced back on the job on Tuesday, following the Canada Day long weekend.

Roughly 75,000 workers in the industrial, institutional and commercial construction sectors are still on strike.

The work stoppage, which began June 17, has shut down construction sites across the province.

Projects on hold include Montreal’s two super hospitals, among the biggest construction projects in the country.

About 100,000 workers in other sectors reached new agreements earlier in the week.

Premier Pauline Marois, who is on a trade mission in Mexico, has said she would use legislation to end the conflict as a last resort.